WAH Nails, the London-based nail brand and boutique, has amassed nearly half a million followers on Instagram. Its founder, Sharmadean Reid, has now combined her undeniable social expertise with technology for the purpose of a brand new app: Beautystack.
Launched last year, it is kind of like a Linkedin/Instagram hybrid for the beauty industry, designed to help professionals market their services (and connect with new clients). It’s also been described as a game-changer in terms of how users find and discover services.
So, what’s it all about? Here’s more on Beautystack’s premise, it’s potential value, as well as a look at the best of the app’s user experience.
Combining social discovery and in-app booking
There’s no shortage of beauty-related posts on Instagram. From #nailsofinstagram to #browsonfleek, there are endless hashtags, too, allowing users to search and discover beauty inspiration.
The problem is that it can be difficult to transfer this visual inspiration into real life. Typically, users end up showing their hairdresser or beauty technician something they’ve seen on Instagram in the hope they will be able to recreate it. Disappointment can often be the end result.
Beautystack aims to change this experience, allowing users to find and discover beauty styles, and to book directly with the professional behind it. It has a booking system built in, meaning the whole process – from discovery to payment – is streamlined.
Treatwell is the most well-known service to offers a similar functionality, however it notably lacks the visual discovery and community feel of Instagram. Beautystack, on the other hand, aims to combine the best of both.
Putting power in the hands of professionals
While Beautystack certainly holds value for consumers, it is also predominately a tool for beauty professionals, with the app clearly benefiting from the industry-perspective of founder, Sharmadean Reid.
Before now, the industry has struggled with lacklustre booking software, meaning salons typically use a multitude of channels to communicate with clients – including websites, email, and even WhatsApp. Beautystack aims to be a new central point of reference, using the format of a social network to allow users to contact salons directly.
It also means that beauty professionals have greater control over their own brand. Before social media, the only option was to create a website with imagery to showcase services. Instagram changed this, however, it has also created a highly competitive space, with the algorithm making it all the more difficult to get noticed.
On Beautystack, professionals can curate their own profiles as well as benefit from clients uploading photos of what they’ve had done. It’s free to appear too, but the app reportedly takes a small cut from sales.
The user generated aspect also means Beautystack has the potential to become a trusted and high-quality community of professionals. While marketplace platforms like Treatwell rely on written reviews, booking can be more of a hit-and-miss process on this basis. In contrast, the visual nature of Beautystack offers another level of reassurance (and motivation), leaving users in no doubt about the type of style and service they will receive.
In this sense, the social network of Beautystack could theoretically become the ultimate source of beauty inspiration, with professionals becoming the next wave of influencers.
As WAH Nails has already proven, brands and boutiques certainly hold huge appeal for consumers in this context, helping to influence and popularise new trends.
Four app features to appreciate
One of the standout elements of Beautystack is the level of detail involved, which allows users to find and discover niche styles. It uses tags to categorise different services as well as to describe them, e.g. ‘manicure’, ‘pink’.
Alongside this is the ability to provide your ‘BeautyPro’ with details about a booking ahead of time. You can upload a photo of the style you want, for example, or a photo of yourself to give them a better idea of what they’ll be dealing with.
Alongside beauty listings and user generated content, Beautystack also intersperses other content into the app. So far, this appears to be content created by Beautystack itself, such as the below piece about its Kings Cross pop-up. In future, however, this opportunity could be offered to popular professionals, again allowing them to enhance their influencer status and to become a high-authority on a topic.
For beauty fans, Beautystack could prove to be a tempting alternative to Instagram as a place for showcasing selfies. However, photos must provide details relating to a treatment, such as the duration and the BeautyPro used. This will undoubtedly help to keep the app niche, and prevent it from being overtaken by filler content.
Similarly, with each user being given their own profile to showcase their photos (with the ability to comment) it also means there is a big community-feel. The app allows users to connect and chat with people who are obsessed with the same interests as them, helping to further reviews and recommendations.
Finally, one aspect of Beautystack that certainly appeals is its more grounded approach to beauty. Instagram can be guilty of perpetuating highly filtered and unachievable standards of beauty, often giving no information about the techniques or processes behind it.
In contrast, the community-focused element of Beautystack – with both users and professionals working together to promote the best salons and services around – means it is far more accessible and relevant for everyday beauty fans.
Explore Influencer Intelligence, part of the Econsultancy Group.